Gilmore Criticised Over Welcoming Croke Park Agreement

The Labour party leader Eamon Gilmore has been criticised by the Government for welcoming the ratification of the Croke Park Agreement.

The Public Services Committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (Ictu) formally ratified the controversial Croke Park agreement on public service pay and reform yesterday by a margin of two to one.

Speaking last night, Mr Gilmore said he welcomed the conclusion of the ratification process urged all concerned to accept the outcome of the democratic process that sealed the deal.

“I want to also give an undertaking to public sector workers that the Labour Party in government will honour the terms of the agreement.

“When the draft Croke Park Agreement was concluded on March 30th I said that it was then a matter for the members of each of the unions to consider the proposals and vote on them in accordance with their own democratic procedures."

However, Fianna Fáil TD Niall Collins, despite also welcoming the ratification, accused Mr Gilmore of "sitting on the fence" adding that it was "bizarre" that the leader of the Labour party took an central position over an agreement which has massive implications for the country.

“For someone who declares himself ready to be the next Taoiseach, Deputy Gilmore has demonstrated absolutely no leadership on this issue which is central to bringing stability restoring prosperity,” said TD Collins.

However, Mr Gilmore said that from the very day on which the government "showed the trade unions the door in government" he had urged the government and the union movement to reopen talks and to seek to conclude a comprehensive national agreement.

“I took that position and adhered to it since then because I believed that public sector workers should be treated with the respect they deserve and allowed to conduct their ballots, free from interference from any political party,” Mr Gilmore said.

Amid the political wrangling, some unions such as the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) and the Irish Federation of University Teachers (IFUT) have said they would not accept the outcome of a majority vote on the Croke Park deal.

The executives of individual unions which voted against the deal will decide on what action to take if they do not wish to go along with the position of the Public Services Committee (PSC).

Trade union Unite, which voted against the deal, said yesterday that it would convene a meeting of its public service representatives to discuss the implications of the decision of the Public Services Committee.


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